Indians raise doubt over Pakistani missile test

NEW DELHI, India (AP) — Indian defense experts cast doubt Wednesday on Pakistan’s claim to have successfully tested a domestically produced long-range missile.
Pakistan announced on Monday that it had tested a “Ghauri” ballistic missile, with a range of 900 miles. It showed television footage of the launch from Kahuta, a town less than 125 miles from the Indian border.
But Indian analysts said the launch was not detected by Indian radar and there was no advance warning by Pakistan to air and sea traffic.
Defense commenatator Rahul Bedi said missile tests are usually preceded by international warnings to ships and airplanes in the area to keep away from the missile’s path. But no such alerts were announced before Monday’s test.
C. Uday Bhasker, the head of India’s national strategic research center, said he also doubted whether the missile was developed by Pakistani engineers.
A country still trying to perfect its missile technology is unlikely to successfully test-fire a long-range missile on the first try, Bhasker said.
He speculated that if the test occurred, the missile was foreign made — either by China or North Korea.
The United States has in the past accused Pakistan of receiving assistance from China to develop missiles. Both China and Pakistan have denied the charges.
Pakistan has not tested a missile since its unsuccessful attempts to launch the Hatf 1 missile in the early 1990s.
India has an extensive missile development program, but suspended research on its long-range Agni missile in 1994 because of American pressures.
India’s new Hindu nationalist government has hinted it may re-evaluate the country’s missile program, including the potential use of nuclear weapons.
Pakistan’s missile, the “Ghauri,” is named after a 12th century Afghan emperor who attacked India and defeated the Hindu prince, Prithvi — the name India gave to its medium-range missile.
Neither Pakistan nor India is a signatory to the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. Both say they possess the technology to produce nuclear warheads.